27 March 2023

Weekend 1

These were two profound outings this weekend.  The first was Musica da Camera's latest outing with Chris Latham.  Chris is currently artist in residence at the Australian War Memorial.  He uses this time to develop a series of musical performances on war-related themes.  This is always touching, emotional, profound even.  This one was on Australia and its role in peacekeeping.  We've done pretty well in the past but not so well in the last decade or so.  No surprise if you are following our politics.  Money wins, for some, not pride in country.  Whatever, this was advertised for adults and near-to.  There was an accompanying slide show with troubling scenes: scenes of conflict and its outcomes.  I was playing so watching the visuals was a distraction, although I did catch bits.  But for me, the satisfaction was playing FS Kelly, touching on Beethoven 9 (Ode to Joy, of course), a string of original compositions by Chris himself and attendant composer Cyrus Meurant, others by Elena Katz-Chernin and Graeme Koehne, even John Lennon, Cat Stevens and ABBA.  Who would expect it?  Nice to feel that stylistic crossover.  Actually, the ABBA tune was quite challenging, with a time signature that moved precariously through 4/4 and 6/8.  Counting was essential.  And of course B9: what could be better?  It may be the closest I get to this pinnacle of the art.  At least I've played this snippet if not the whole, challenging work.  Then there's the wonderful musicians that featured : Susannah Lowergren, Riley Lee on shakuhachi, Matthew O'Keefe and that strongest of pianists, Edward Neeman.  It's a privilege to play with people like this.  So thanks to Chris.

Chris Latham (musical director) led Musica da Camera String Orchestra with soloists Susannah Lowergren (soprano), Riley Lee (shakuhachi), Matthew O'Keefe (clarinet) and Edward Neeman (piano) at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.

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